Gene Davis, a beloved community figure, recently died at the age of 62. The cause was colon cancer. Windy City Times was made aware of his death by his friends.
Davis' early life was marred with difficulty. Born Aug. 5, 1954, in Jackson, Mississippi, he was hearing-impaired at a young age, and remembered feeling like he was the only person with his disability in the whole world. His life changed dramatically when he moved to Chicago at the age of 35, and he was able to take sign-language classes and meet other hearing impaired people for the first time.
Davis was passionate about his faith. He had just joined the Seculary Franciscan Order in January of this year, and was looking forward to a life of service. The order accepted his sexuality with open arms. "My life is different now, and it's getting better because I became more Christian," Davis said in an interview in the Feb. 24, 2016 issue of Windy City Times.
He was also devoted to finding young people with disabilities a place in the world. "I want to be more of a role model and I want to let the younger generation know, don't feel bad about themselves," he said. As a small business ownerhe ran a cleaning service called Gene's Cleaninghe wanted to reach out to other hearing-impaired people and offer them jobs. As a member of both the disability and gay communities, Davis wanted the two to find a point of connection. In particular, he wanted to see more events focused on disability at Pride.
When Windy City Times interviewed him, Davis seemed content with where he was in his life. "I have my own place now. I work very hard and I'm more active. I'm very happy and I know God loves me and I want to do more things in the gay community," He had also expressed a strong desire to have his story told. "I'm 61 years old, I've never been speaking up for myself," he said. "There's a whole story to my life."
A memorial service will be held Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. at St. Peter's in the Loop, 110 W. Madison St.
See www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/The-dreams-of-Gene-Davis/54391.html .